The Young Pope

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Can't believe this isn't called House of Cardinals.

I haven't decided whether or not to watch this. I can appreciate a bit of high-budget pulp, but it sounds like this is particularly over-the-top, and I dunno if it'll end up being mildly or moderately blasphemous, to boot. I'll probably wait a bit to hear more about it.
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Tyler isn't here! Tyler went away! Tyler's gone!
I saw the first two episodes. So far it seems like a depiction, from a European perspective, of what it would be like if an American Pope "took office". They also made it a political show, showing the manipulation, slander and lust for power in the Vatican.

It held my interest so far, but IDK if I would recommend it, as of yet.



The Adventure Starts Here!
I've watched all the episodes. Many were On Demand, meaning there was a clip at the end of each episode where the director said a bit about that episode. He seems to have purposely made this character ambiguous in many ways.

This is a limited series, not an actual full series, so the ten episodes are all there is of this story. (There is even a big "THE END" at the tail end of episode 10, in case the term "limited series" wasn't clear enough. Ha!)

I found it oddly compelling. Jude Law was absolutely spellbinding in every scene, and his grief in one of the later episodes is so moving that I cried with him.

But I think the director's inability to commit to a clear path for Lenny Belardo makes this show more uneven than it needs to be. Sure, characters should be complex and not Good or Bad. But there's a fine line between making a character interesting and making him unknowable. I haven't decided what I ultimately think of Lenny, and the director's choices aren't helping me.

Having said all that, I will say that I appreciated that none of the characters are black or white. Plenty of gray area here, even in the Vatican. And those opening credits with "Along the Watchtower" and the paintings are marvelous!



This is a limited series, not an actual full series, so the ten episodes are all there is of this story. (There is even a big "THE END" at the tail end of episode 10, in case the term "limited series" wasn't clear enough. Ha!)
Courtney and I wondered this at first, but reading around a bit, I don't think this is what Limited Series means. Surprise, it doesn't have a set definition, but this one suggests it just means a shorter season. Also, this was aired in Italy back in October, I think, so I think HBO just sort of bought it (it sounds like they produced it in partnership with a couple of other companies), which means maybe Limited Series just means "not an HBO Original."

Also, they've said they want to do a second season.

I agree that the ending of the first season could easily function as the end of the whole story, though. And if it were, it'd be a pretty haunting, ambiguous ending worthy of debate. Though I'd be glad for it to go on, because I felt like it never quite found its footing, despite moments of brilliance.



The Adventure Starts Here!
Courtney and I wondered this at first, but reading around a bit, I don't think this is what Limited Series means. Surprise, it doesn't have a set definition, but this one suggests it just means a shorter season. Also, this was aired in Italy back in October, I think, so I think HBO just sort of bought it (it sounds like they produced it in partnership with a couple of other companies), which means maybe Limited Series just means "not an HBO Original."

Also, they've said they want to do a second season.

I agree that the ending of the first season could easily function as the end of the whole story, though. And if it were, it'd be a pretty haunting, ambiguous ending worthy of debate. Though I'd be glad for it to go on, because I felt like it never quite found its footing, despite moments of brilliance.
This seems to run completely counter to that big "THE END" at the end of the last episode. I wasn't kidding about that. It's really there. It's the only episode that has this. It seemed almost cheesy, but the ending of that finale could definitely work as the end of this series. I won't say more about specifics.

But why would they have a big "THE END" on the screen at the end of that last episode?



Maybe just because it's the end of the season. Or because they wrote it not knowing if they would have a chance to make a second season or not.



The Adventure Starts Here!
Possible, but then even cheesier. Better to have left it off completely. And where was this sort of optimistic commitment when Carnivale and Deadwood were airing?

Seriously, though, I'd watch a second season, if only to watch Jude Law. But it feels as if they wrapped up a few key stories and character arcs with a neat little bow and may want to unwrap them if there is a second season. But, I'd totally watch it if they do.



The Adventure Starts Here!
That was pretty special, wasn't it? Were you watching the snippets with the director after the episodes? He seems really bent on making sure he leaves everything up to the viewer's interpretation... but sometimes he's a tad heavy-handed in the dialogue. That scene struck me that way... and yet it completely works and is fascinating to watch. Well acted by both Law and Cromwell.



Didn't see that, no. Those are usually so vapid (on shows in general, I mean) I've gotten used to skipping past them.

I was just so pleased to see a show take theological disagreements seriously, where both people involved were actually, ya' know, smart. I'm generally not a fan of "leave it up to the viewer," except in the sense of making sure both people in an argument have a pretty good point, so that you could reasonably agree with either.

That, and the one-liners the show hits you over the head with every couple of episodes. The show is so bizarre that the poetry sneaks up on you, but when it's good, it's really good.

"Sex is the motor that drives the world."
"But it's not a motor that purrs. It's a motor that keeps breaking down."



The Adventure Starts Here!
I fell for some of Lenny's snark: "I have to watch golf on TV later."

And yes, that debate scene works because both parties are from the same theological tradition yet approach their knowledge from different angles/subsets of beliefs. Of course, I have a lot of issues with specific Catholic doctrines, but I hadn't ever heard the "ensouled" bit till that episode.

One thing I found fascinating about this series so far is that they didn't do what you expect when you hear the title or even watch the opening credits. They didn't make him ridiculously progressive or "modern." His views are complex, and his reasons and personal history are also complex. He's vulnerable and obvious in spots and yet completely unreadable and unpredictable in others. Throw in a few oddly placed miracles, and you have a compelling show.



Yeah, if you just heard the premise, you'd think he'd be really progressive and the whole thing would just be dumping on religious people.

If you just saw the promos, you'd think he'd be amoral and power-hungry and the whole thing would just be about intramural scheming.

Turns out, it was neither. How refreshing.



You can't win an argument just by being right!
I'm getting conflicting reports about this show. Some tell me to binge it others tell me to burn it. Might have to atleast check the pilot.



The Adventure Starts Here!
Yeah, if you just heard the premise, you'd think he'd be really progressive and the whole thing would just be dumping on religious people.

If you just saw the promos, you'd think he'd be amoral and power-hungry and the whole thing would just be about intramural scheming.

Turns out, it was neither. How refreshing.
I'm not sure how they could have packaged this series accurately, though. I'm thinking they wanted to lure in people who expected those things because there would be a lot of them. And I certainly expected those things but figured I'd give it a chance. And they even start that first episode with a fake-out in that very direction.

Anyway... I found everyone flawed enough to be believable, and I saw true faith in only a few of the characters (Gutierrez being the most likable).

Complete side note: When did smoking in films and TV become a "thing" again? When I was young, it was everywhere. Then it was absolutely nowhere. Now it's crept back in, and not just in period pieces set in the '70s or earlier. Everybody smoked in this show.



The Adventure Starts Here!
I'm getting conflicting reports about this show. Some tell me to binge it others tell me to burn it. Might have to atleast check the pilot.
Definitely give it a shot. It's fascinating, and it's well cast. However, I found I had to keep the closed captioning on in some episodes if there were too many actors with heavy Italian accents. Hard to follow what some of them were saying, especially if they spoke in hushed tones.



I'm getting conflicting reports about this show. Some tell me to binge it others tell me to burn it. Might have to atleast check the pilot.
Tough call. Tougher still in that I don't even know if you'll be able to tell, from the pilot alone, if you'll like the rest of it. The pilot is mostly just weird. The deeper/more thoughtful stuff comes later. I think I can safely say that if you watch half the season and aren't starting to get into it, though, you can probably safely drop it. But even then, there's just so much flowing from one mood to another that it wouldn't shock me if someone loved the last few episodes without loving the others before them.

It's an odd one, for sure.



I'm not sure how they could have packaged this series accurately, though. I'm thinking they wanted to lure in people who expected those things because there would be a lot of them. And I certainly expected those things but figured I'd give it a chance. And they even start that first episode with a fake-out in that very direction.
Yeah, it's not like there's a lot of market for the theological stuff, or even a show that portrays old-fashioned Catholic ideas as anything other than utterly heinous. Putting them in the mouth of a mostly sympathetic character is already kind of shocking, considering the wider culture right now.

And I've definitely made peace with the fact that what I'd love to see in most shows would make them completely economically unsound.



The Adventure Starts Here!
I'd say Jude Law and the actor playing Voiello carry the earlier episodes for me. I completely forgot Law is British...until watching a trailer for the upcoming King Arthur movie and remembering. (Then again, I also watched him last night in Genius, where he uses a thick Southern accent to play Thomas Wolfe, so yeah, I'm confused about Jude Law today. Ha!)